Lisbon, Morocco, Spain: June 22-July 8, 2007
by Rick Swallow
First to Lisbon (built on 7 hills)
4608(643)456 This trip began for me at 8:30 A.M. on June 22nd, 2007, when I checked my bag at the U.S. Air counter. I watched them mark it for Lisbon and that was the last I saw of it. My 11:20 flight for Philadelphia left a little over 30 minutes late so when I got there I had 12 minutes to race clear around to the other side of that huge airport terminal where I made my next connecting flight to Lisbon. Uh, huh. Another 40 minutes late in departing, but apparently my luggage couldn't keep up with me. It's an old suitcase, after all. In the account which follows, I have included many clickable links to the toured areas. My flight arrived in Lisbon about 7 hours and 10 minutes later and I was a little put out that my luggage had taken a trip of its own. I filed the appropriate paperwork and went outside to meet up with my local Globus contact. Another hour or so and we were off to our hotel, the Hotel Mundial. The group picture below comprises the entire group. Yeah, it was taken later in the tour, in Marrakech (as it says) but it's the best group shot I've got. The fellow in the djellaba is Rachid, our Moroccan Tour Guide, who stayed with us throughout Morocco.
Our first meal together as a group was that evening after an introductory meeting where it was explained to us that our tiny group of only 13 participants was virtually unheard of, and our tour director, Kay Maxwell, could not account for why so few had signed up. It made for a very cozy "family" type group after all, with lots of time to get acquainted with each other.
Back Row:Bob, Joyce, Kyoko, Anna, Sue, Ed, Anne, Patti, Jerry, Pam Front Row: Stephen, Herb, Rick, Richad
Next day (Day 3) we climbed aboard our luxury coach (driven by Brito) which we rode throughout the tour, and headed for the Alfama which was decked out for a local celebration. The wall seen is part of the Alfama (and Lisbon) that was not destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755. The bridge above, designed after the Golden Gate in San Francisco, spans the Tagus (Tejo) River Just to the west of the city. We drove west, along the bank of the Tagus to see the Tower of Belém, a beautiful masterpiece built in 1521 to defend the river's mouth (Lisbon's Harbor).
Here we see Steve and Joyce, Herb, Kyoko and Ana taking a little look at this interesting "fortress. "Apparently it is open to the public on special
occassions, but not on this particular day.
This monument to Prince Henry the Navigator was built in 1960 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his death and is located just east of the Tower.
The Jerónimos Monestary (above, and to left) was built by King Manuel in the early 16th century.
To the left is an inside picture of the cloisters. The architecture is really very beautiful and in exquisite detail.
That afternoon we took a nice ride westward along the river for lunch in the coastal town of Cascais. We were free to wander around and that I did, actually missing the tour coach and a tour of a castle.... I had wandered into a little Irish Pub while waiting for what I thought was the correct departure time (actually 1/2 hour off...), but I did get a really cute shot (left, below) of this patron who, when finding the need to go, informed his mother--who was busy watching a soccer match on the telly and wasn't aware of his need to evacuate. So he just stepped out onto the square and did his thing. He was wearing what looked like a tuxedo, cute as a button. I ended up taking the local train back to Lisbon. That evening (right, below) we had a very nice meal along with some interesting entertainment "Fada-style." It somehow reminded me of how much I enjoyed the Chinese Opera in Beijing last Fall.
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